In my action movie class we watched Peking Opera Blues (see movie poster below). It was made in 1986(?) or something like that. It’s about three women during the early 1900s China, who try to revolt against the government. (Also, if you’re wondering, the poster has 3 women on it. That is not a man.)
Anyway, the actual Chinese title is “Knife Horse Actress,” which means a woman who plays a man in the Chinese opera scene (I think). Regardless, the translators entitled it “Peking Opera Blues.” This is only but one of many interesting things the translators do. I can understand what they’re saying, but most of my class doesn’t. Those subtitles… first, the translators left out some information, which seemed important in understanding the next sentence. So, something like, “Your mother was this sort of person when she left” became “She was the same and left.” There was no context of who “she” was. Second, there were a lot of grammar mistakes. For example, “Don’t be scared” became “No afraid.” Besides the subtitles, there were random bits of the audio that switched from Cantonese to Mandarin. It was interesting.
This is one bad movie. It’s cheesy and hilarious! It’s so bad that I loved every minute of it. Although, I’m not really sure I’d consider this to be an action movie. Most of it is about planning the revolt (just like in Seven Samurai!) with a lot of humor.
Apparently, this movie won a lot of awards, and I suppose it does deserve something. Ha ha ha, it’s too funny. Even unintentionally funny. I had set the bar really low for this movie, because it just sounds boring, but it really surprised me. Definitely above expectations, especially with the humor. Ah.. I’m still laughing about it.
The ending though… that seemed like a good happy ending, but it was a little tossed-together-at-the-last-minute sort of feel. After watching this movie, my mind immediately though: “It’s over?” It’s not that the ending was a cliffhanger, but more like a disappointment.
On another note, some people may be asking, “What is Peking opera?” Well, let’s start with some basics.
1. Have you ever seen these people?
2. It’s really high pitched singing. I can’t stand it.
3. It’s the earliest form of a martial arts movie!
FYI, in that picture, the woman in the front does not have Swastikas on her headpiece. They’re a Buddhist symbol (which the Nazi’s borrowed).
I’ve had the… let’s say… unique opportunity of see an opera show when I went to Beijing. It was so bad. I just can’t watch these things. It’s like when your significant other really wants to go see something, like monster trucks or the ballet, and you really don’t want to. Then you have to sit through it, and think, “I really want to get along with this person, so I’ll try my hardest to like this.” In the end, though, you just can’t bring yourself to like it at all. That’s sort of the feeling when I went to see it.
My grandma really loves the opera, though. The music is o~kay, but the singing…gah. It’s really piercing. I can’t describe it. You just have to listen. Whenever she plays the tapes, I always try to go somewhere else.
Oh, also, I found this interesting picture:
Aren’t they cool? I don’t think I’d ever do that. I mean… what do they match?
In conclusion, Peking opera gives you the blues!